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Pokémon Go came bursting out on the mobile gaming scene in 2016, but the game has changed quite a bit since launch thanks to some big updates. Whether you like it or not, Pokémon Go is here to stay.
Originally, Pokémon Go only featured gyms for competitive battles, but they’ve recently changed how the gym system works. Thus, old tips for defending gyms may no longer apply. And to shake things up even more, developer Niantic has introduced Raids. These feature stronger-than-usual Pokémon that players of different teams can team up with to take down. Both mechanics could prove daunting for casual players, so we’ve compiled some tips and tricks that you should know to get your Pokécoins and defeat powerful monsters.
If you haven’t yet joined the Pokémon Go craze but want to see what it’s all about, start with our top tips for beginners. You should also double-check if your phone can run Pokémon Go in the first place. This will help you get a leg up in the competition to be the very best, like no one ever was.
1. Gyms Are Also Pokéstops
Since the update, all gyms are now Pokéstops. If your team currently controls one, you’ll get even more items when spinning the Photo Disc thanks to a Team Bonus. To spin the disc, though, you’ll have to interact with the gym first, and then tap on the Pokéstop button. The refresh rate on these are the same as regular Pokéstops, which is about five minutes.
Some players have reported that a few Pokéstops were converted into gyms after the update. But thanks to the new system, there’s nothing to lose and only everything to gain.
Another key bit to note is the fact that Raid Passes, which are required for entering Raids, only drop from Gym Pokéstops. You get one free pass a day if you don’t already have one in your inventory. Otherwise, you can purchase Premium Raid Passes in the Shop for 100 Pokécoins.
2. Gym Prestige Is Out, Gym Motivation Is In
Previously, gyms could hold up to 10 trainers and their Pokémon in them, but only if you raised the level by training and gaining “prestige.” That’s gone, and now only six Pokémon can be in a gym at any given time — no training required.
If there’s an empty slot in a gym controlled by your team, you can drop off one Pokémon in it. However, it must be something unique — no more walls of Blisseys. The Pokémon’s CP number becomes their “motivation,” which is symbolized by a heart. It will deplete slowly over time the moment you place it in the gym, and it doesn’t start off with full motivation. You’ll have to feed berries to your Pokémon (and any teammates) to keep its motivation up. Motivation is lost after Pokémon suffer defeat in gym battles against rival teams.
If you notice your gym’s motivation going down, make sure to feed berries to your Pokémon, as well as your teammates. But be warned: while the first few berries raise motivation quite a bit, subsequent feedings don’t replenish as much. Plus, Pokémon get tired of having too many of the same berry, so keep it varied!
3. Efficient Coin Farming
Previously, Pokémon Go awarded players 10 Pokécoins per gym defended. The daily maximum was 10 gyms, and you could collect these every 21 hours. Now, the daily limit is 50 coins, and you earn one coin for every 10 minutes your Pokémon is defending a gym.
When you do the math, this means you need to defend gyms for at least eight hours and 20 minutes to hit your maximum daily limit of Pokécoins (the clock resets at midnight). Anything longer than that is not necessary.
You could argue that this new system is better than the old one. However, the only drawback is that players cannot get the coins until their Pokémon has been knocked out of a gym. Thus, if your Pokémon stays at the gym overnight but gets knocked out the next day, you lose out on 50 coins.
4. Get Gym Badges
With the refresh, each gym that you visit and spin the stop on — whether it’s friendly or a rival team’s — nets you a gym badge. You can view the gym badges on your profile page, so seeing what gyms you’ve come across is just a glance away.
The gym badges are also important if you want more items. Spending more time defending a gym, battling defending Pokémon, and feeding berries to Pokémon at that gym, results in a higher tier badge (bronze, silver, or gold) that appears behind the gym photo. When you interact with a gym’s photo disc, you get bonus items. The number of bonuses depends on your gym badge level.
With that said, get out there and power up your stats by taking some Pokémon gyms!
5. Get to Raids on Time
Pokémon Go has always had a Nearby Pokémon popup that shows you what critters are near you. With the latest update, Raids debuted, and there’s a separate tab in the Nearby popup for them.
When you view the Nearby Raids section, you’ll see what gym the Raid boss will be at, as well as the time. The game will notify you often that a nearby Raid is starting soon, and you can see countdowns on gyms. Once a Raid starts, you get one hour to complete it. If you fail, you can try again by spinning the gym Photo Disc for another Raid Pass to use.
It’s highly recommended to get to Raids as they begin, because it offers the best chance you’ll have of finding other players to team up with. Up to 20 players can work together to tackle Raid bosses, regardless of which team they’ve chosen. The later you get to the Raid, the less chance you have of finding others to help you take out the boss. Another option is a private group, where players need to know the group code (composed of Pokémon sprites) to join.
The only requirements for joining a Raid are having a level of at least 25 and using a Raid Pass. You get one free Raid Pass each day from Gym Pokéstops, if you don’t already have one in your inventory.
6. Know Your Raid Levels and Rarity
Before Raids start, players see a colored egg in the Nearby Raid tab, as well as on top of gyms as it nears Raid time. The color of the egg determines the rarity and levels. Pink eggs are Normal and level one or two. Yellow are Rare and usually level three or four, and dark eggs contain legendary Pokémon and are the highest tier at five. Once an egg hatches a boss, you can see the level by the number of icons under the Pokémon’s silhouette.
You can take out level one and two bosses on your own. For level three battles, you should have at least two people, and level four will need at least five to six people with a strong team. The higher the level of boss, the more CP they have.
Again, to maximize efficiency and teamwork, you’ll want to hit Raids as soon as they start, especially for the rare and higher-tier Pokémon.
7. It’s All About Counters
Raids are the first time in the game where players can battle Pokémon that do not belong to other trainers. And since Raids only contain one boss Pokémon at a time, getting to take six Pokémon into battle with you is a huge advantage. Knowing the type counters is a key element to victory.
Before you go into a Raid, you’re able to see what the Raid Pokémon is once you tap on the gym that they’ve taken control of. When you use your Raid Pass item, the game gives Trainers about two minutes to prepare their team of six Pokémon. This is a good time to heal up and even boost your Pokémon CP with candies and stardust. Make sure to use this time to find the best Pokémon for the job too, and not just your strongest go-to team for gym battles.
For example, if you are going into a Charizard (Fire/Flying type) Raid, which is tier four, you may want to take as many Vaporeons as you are able to. Other powerful Water-type Pokémon, such as Blastoise and Feraligatr, will work too.
Learn the weaknesses of the Raid bosses, and then use that to your advantage!
8. Be Careful in Battle
The combat system for Raids is the same as when you fight rival gyms, so nothing’s changed there. Except, of course, that Raid bosses can hit much harder than regular gym Pokémon.
To help you survive in Raid battles, it’s important to dodge incoming attacks from the boss. You can tell when an attack is coming because of the yellow flash on the edges of the screen. When you see this, swipe left or right to have your current Pokémon move in that direction. With good timing, you can avoid taking the full hit.
In between dodges, tap on the screen to perform your Pokémon’s fast attack. Then, long-press the screen once the Charge Attack gauge is full to use your specials.
Timing is everything, and even more so against Raid bosses. If you can unleash a flurry of attacks and dodge most (if not all) incoming hits, then your team should survive even the toughest boss fights.
9. Earn Special Items From Raids
Once you defeat a Raid boss, trainers gain 3,000 experience points as a reward. This means you’re one step closer to reaching the next level (currently, the cap is at 40). You also get a chance of earning special new items, such as Golden Razz Berries, Rare Candies, and Fast and Charged Technical Machines (TMs).
Niantic has also introduced Premiere Balls into the lineup of Pokéballs. These are special variations that you can only earn after taking down a boss. The number of Premiere Balls you get is dependent on how much you contributed to the overall battle, as well as whether your team had control of the gym or not.
You can only use Premiere Balls during the bonus, which is an opportunity for trainers to catch the raid boss that they just defeated. Unfortunately, you don’t get the huge CP boost that the boss had when you start a raid. Instead, the CP is normalized, but the stats of the Pokémon are stronger than what you may find in the wild.
Golden Razz Berries are important to have, as they make it much easier to catch a Pokémon. They can also fully heal Pokémon in a gym if eaten. Fast and Charged TMs allow players to change the Fast and Charged attacks of a Pokémon, respectively. Rare Candies turn into a Pokémon’s candy if fed to them, so it’s great for times when you want to power up a Pokémon but are lacking the necessary candies.
Go Be the Best!
Now that you know how the new gyms and Raids work in Pokémon Go, it’s time to get out there and train hard! But remember, there’s no fun in cheating in Pokémon Go — though you can still play on your Windows PC if you don’t have a smartphone. Have fun as a legit player and be safe while doing so.
Are you still playing Pokémon Go? What do you think of the new gym system and Raids? Do you have any other tips that you want to share with fellow players? Let us know in the comments!